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Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere universe headed to big screen

"The Way of Kings" gets the green light as the first Sanderson book lined up for movie treatment, with a screenplay coming from the "Saw" writing team.

Ever since the "Lord of the Rings" franchise earned a few $B's for New Line Cinema, the race has been on to bring fantasy universes to screens large and small.

BrandonSanderson.com

From "Eragon" (an unfortunate flop) to "Game of Thrones" (nailed it) to "The Chronicles of Narnia" (already rebooting), the genre has transcended from something I used to get made fun of for in high school to a multibillion-dollar land of lembas and butterbeer.

Now the arguably current heir apparent, Brandon Sanderson, is getting his chance to move off the pages.

DMG Entertainment, the Chinese media company behind movies like "Looper," "Priest" and the recent "Point Break" remake, has committed to spending almost $300 million licensing the rights to Sanderson's "Cosmere" fantasy universe.

Variety reports that DMG will start with "The Way Of Kings," the opening book in "The Stormlight Archive" trilogy.
Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan wrote the "Saw" films, will pen the script.

The Cosmere -- Sanderson's equivalent of Stephen King's Dark Tower or Tolkien's Middle-earth universes -- spans not just a single trilogy, but multiple novels and series. While each series can be read alone, all contain references and clues to the bigger picture. Each of the Cosmere series references events on a single fictional world (currently at 11 known worlds), which is centered on one or more of 16 "Shards"(roughly explained as the powers of creation itself).

The Cosmere is fairly challenging to explain without more context, but you can give it a shot over here. The good news is the books are very accessible, and Sanderson's fast-paced, approachable writing makes it easy to dive into his worlds without any prior knowledge. Having personally read "Elantris" (his first novel, now a series), the "Mistborn" series and the "Rithmatist" (not part of the Cosmere), I'd argue Sanderson is doing an excellent job writing in the fantasy genre while aiming at modern readers.

Sanderson is active on Twitter and directly engages with his fans there, and on Reddit as well. On Thursday, he expressed excitement about the massive movie deal.

"The people at DMG aren't just producers or financiers. They're fans," Sanderson said in a statement. "From the first moment we met, I knew they understood my vision and goals for the Cosmere, and I've been excited to work with them in bringing their vision for the universe to the screen."

Correction, Friday at 10:20 a.m. PT: The original article misstated the number of Cosmere Shards. There are 16.